Baltimore County libraries have more devices for borrowing - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Jan. 5, 2017 10:32 am

Baltimore County libraries have more devices for borrowing

Chromebooks. Playaway Locks. GoChips!
Students using Chromebooks.

Students using Chromebooks.

(Photo by Flickr user Kevin Jarrett, used under a Creative Commons license)

As its leadership continues to rethink the library, Baltimore County is adding more tech that patrons can take home.

Libraries are known for providing digital access, and Baltimore County Public Libraries Director Paula Miller has talked about how providing digital access is a new way for the libraries to be an “instrument of democracy.”

“There has been no greater change in our libraries than in the last couple of decades,” she said Wednesday, noting that technology tools are “just as essential” as books.

Now, each of the 19 branches in Baltimore County are adding laptops and e-readers that can be checked out. Baltimore County Government funded the new items to the tune of $500,000.

“We initiated this new tech option in our libraries because adding these e-devices allows County residents to access the latest technology, be more computer-literate, and learn the technical skills that are so vital now in our workplaces and global economy,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Here’s the full rundown of what is being added:

  • 380 Chromebooks to access the internet, with 20 at each of the library’s 19 branches. (Loan period: seven days.)
  • 210 Playaway Locks, which are pre-loaded ereaders. Each has five books, and can be loaned for three weeks.
  • 2 Mobile Training Labs, which contain a set of 21 laptops for training.
  • GoChips, which contain video content to view on a laptop without using data, will also be introduced in early 2017. “The Baltimore County Public Library will be among the first libraries in the country to circulate these devices,” Miller said.

BCPL appears to be ready for heavy demand. While each branch will get their own supply, policies are already in place allowing most of the devices will be available to request across branches if one runs out.

The move makes more devices available in an area where the public schools are aiming to outfit all students with laptops.

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